Inu Yasha Vol. #04 (of 56) (

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2003

What They Say
“A true warrior never puts a woman before a battle!” It’s the final showdown between Inuyasha and the Thunder Brothers. But can Inuyasha defeat the demon duo while trying to protect Kagome at the same time? Later, Kagome has adventures in the modern times where she must face a deadly Noh Mask with a shard of the sacred Jewel imbedded in it. And when things seem normal again for Kagome, she encounters the ghost of a little girl who died in a fire. Kagome has to try to save the girl’s soul from a demon who will take her soul to Hell.

The Review!
The adventure continues in The Thunder Brothers; this time, the action spills over from the past and into the present. No matter what time period they are in, Kagome and Inuyasha provide a good dose of action and humor.

For my primary viewing session, the Japanese audio track was listened to; as with previous volumes, the front soundstage was utilized well during the action sequences while the dialogue was sharp and clear. There were no discernable problems during playback providing a rich audio experience.

Viz continues to give this series a great video transfer; the picture is sharp and colorful and, to my eye, defect-free. The subtitles are large and yellow and could still be reduced slightly in size.

As with the previous volumes, Viz’s practice of replacing the original credits in the opening and ending with English versions reduces the overall grade from the "A".

Set against a nice green background, Inuyasha and the Thunder Brothers strike a pose on the front cover. The rest of the front cover is consistent in its placing of the titles and logos. A volume number is still absent from the cover.

The back cover follows suit as the placement of the text, screenshots, credits, and specifications is consistent with previous volumes. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings on the other. This formula is likely to continue for the entirety of the series; it is simple but effective packaging. All it lacks is a clear indicator of what volume it is.

The menus also follow suit with the packaging and retain the layout and functionality seen in previous volumes. There is not much else to say; if you have seen one Inu Yasha menu, you know what to expect. There is nothing wrong functionally with the menus, but the main menu remains a bit too busy for my tastes.

It is becoming difficult to avoid the temptation to cut & paste sections from previous reviews into my latest review. Once again, your extras are a list of Japanese and English voice actors, a line art gallery of some character design sheets, and the Japanese promos for the episodes.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Inuyasha finishes his confrontation with the Thunder Brothers in Phantom Showdown – The Thunder Brothers vs. Tetsusaiga. It is a standard action-filled climax to the story that reveals a little bit more about the power of the Tetsusaiga. It also solidifies Shippo as a member of the fellowship for the Jewel. Shippo and Inuyasha continue to remind me of Ataru and Jariten providing some great chuckles at the end of this episode.

Kagome returns to her life at school as Terror of the Ancient Noh Mask opens. We get a brief glimpse into her life before she became Kagome, demon-fighting princess. She has friends, worries about exams, and seems to have a male admirer in Hojo, the resident school dreamboat.

Unfortunately, the past has caught up with her; an ancient, possessed Noh mask that has been in the family’s care for centuries has broken through the wards and seals confining it. It seeks human flesh to make a body for itself and needs the power of the Jewel fragments to accomplish its goal. Kagome’s brother Sota even gets involved in the action as Inuyasha must fight in the future for once.

The volume ends on a different note with The Soul Piper and the Mischievous Little Soul. This story has Kagome trying to save a little girl’s soul from being dragged into hell. It shows just how much Kagome cares about people, not just those she knows personally. The story is predictable and contains the requisite happy ending, but it was a refreshing pause in the "find the jewel and battle a demon" formula.

The focus of this batch of episodes is the growing relationship between Kagome and Inuyasha. Shippo sees that Inuyasha might actually be smitten with Kagome while Kagome is beginning to see that Inuyasha is not as gruff as he appears. He even seems a bit dashing at times. While Takahashi’s stories revolve around the protagonists and their burgeoning relationship, it will be interesting to see what sort of spin is put on it in this series.

The show continues to be a fun ride but one that is becoming a bit too routine. We will hopefully see more episodes like Soul Piper to keep things fresh. The addition of Kagome’s friends and the present day into the quest should also help keeps things interesting. And there are still two more characters from the opening sequence to introduce. If you have liked what you have seen so far, you will enjoy this volume as well.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable.

Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 24.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Inu Yasha